Psychostimulants and opioids differentially influence the epigenetic modification of histone acetyltransferase and histone deacetylase in astrocytes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Illicit drugs are known to affect central nervous system (CNS). Majorly psychostimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine (METH) and opioids such as morphine are known to induce epigenetic changes of histone modifications and chromatin remodeling which are mediated by histone acetyltransferase (HAT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC). Aberrant changes in histone acetylation-deacetylation process further exacerbate dysregulation of gene expression and protein modification which has been linked with neuronal impairments including memory formation and synaptic plasticity. In CNS, astrocytes play a pivotal role in cellular homeostasis. However, the impact of psychostimulants and opioid mediated epigenetic changes of HAT/HADCs in astrocytes has not yet been fully elucidated. Therefore, we have investigated the effects of the psychostimulants and opioid on the acetylation-regulating enzymes- HAT and HDACs role in astrocytes. In this study, Class I and II HDACs and HATs gene expression, protein changes and global level changes of acetylation of H3 histones at specific lysines were analyzed. In addition, we have explored the neuroprotective "nootropic" drug piracetam were exposed with or without psychostimulants and opioid in the human primary astrocytes. Results revealed that psychostimulants and opioid upregulated HDAC1, HDAC4 and p300 expression, while HDAC5 and GCN5 expression were downregulated. These effects were reversed by piracetam coexposure. Psychostimulants and opioid exposure upregulated global acetylation levels of all H3Ks, except H3K14. These results suggest that psychostimulants and opioids differentially influence HATs and HDACs.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Doke, M., Pendyala, G., & Samikkannu, T.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Doke, Mayur||Pendyala, Gurudutt||Samikkannu, Thangavel

publication date

  • June 2021